An open invitation was extended to our Year 12 students to take part in an inspirational Technology Masterclass, held at the Radisson Blu hotel at Manchester Airport. They were treated to four inspirational sessions, all led by companies who use innovative technology as part of their operations.

The sessions were:

1) Carat Media, Advertising – the group was challenged to come up with their own pitch for the new Adidas mobile app, in just 10 minutes!

2) MAG-O, MAN Airport’s digital team – this was a highly energetic introduction into how the new MAN Airport app is being developed.  Lots of tech jargon and apparently a mandatory staple diet of pizza, lots of pizza.

3) Laing O’Rourke, Construction/Civil Engineering – virtual reality headsets abound, the students were treated to a virtual site tour of the MAN-TP (the current airport transformation project). There were different styles of headset to try out, some of which allow you to drive a crane using a joy stick, others which are readily available for home use, using mobile phones to project the image, as well as some state-of-the-art units which cost over £3k each.

4) Vodafone and Cisco, Collaboration and Communication – in this session the group started in one room and then split into two groups to conduct a video conference with a neighbouring room, which culminated in a game of virtual Pictionary. Who would have guessed that this would feature in a tech conference?!

There were a few keynote speeches from Adam Jupp, Head of External affairs at MAN Airport, John Lohan, Engineer from Jacobs and, finally, a flying visit (pun fully intended) from Baroness Sugg, CBE, Parliamentary Minister responsible for aviation.

A few facts we learned:

  • MAN Airport makes a much larger margin from airport sales than they do from flights
  • It is predicted that 50% of internet searches will be conducted by voice by 2020 (Alexa and Siri will be busy)
  • MAN Airport Group (MAG) employ over 500k people
  • 53% of internet searches are abandoned if the page takes more than 3 seconds to load
  • There are lots different skill sets required in the digital market than just being a ‘coding nerd’… although this helps too.

There will be more Masterclasses hosted by MAG: Customer Services, 12th October; Hospitality and Catering, 16th November; STEM, 30th November.

We are always keen for students to learn about business in all its forms.  If your business would be interested in hosting a masterclass for students or taking part in talks and demos at the school, please get in touch with Philip Jones at Wilmslow High School.